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A look at Royal Caribbean’s brand new Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s revolutionary new Quantum of the Seas, now cruising out of New York City, is billed as the first “smart ship.” Quantum, the world’s third largest cruise ship behind Royal Caribbean’s sisters, Oasis and Allure, carries 4,180 passengers and offers a bunch of “firsts at sea.” I found these firsts great fun on a […]

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When lunch at a cruise port is a welcome excursion

When you are planning a port day for an upcoming cruise, and are looking to step away from the typical tour paths, consider lunch. One way to get a feel of a port is to taste it. I look for casual spots that attract locals, have reasonable prices, and menus with regional specialties. For cruisers, […]

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Cruising guest stars on Regal Princess’ Love Boat

As we get ready to sail from Fort Lauderdale on Princess Cruises, I feel like a guest star on the old TV show, “The Love Boat.” My ship, of course, is not the Pacific Princess, the vessel I first cruised on, in 1983, between Acapulco and Los Angeles, during filming with actors Gavin MacLeod as […]

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Cruise lines offer more beverage packages in rising tide of bar tabs

For vacationers, the biggest surprise aboard their first cruise probably has nothing to do with the feel of rolling seas. More likely, the surprise will be their bar tab. The cost of alcohol, whether you buy by the drink or as part of the ship’s beverage packages, has become one of cruising’s more confusing, and […]

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Royal Caribbean hopes to lure new cruisers with Quantum of the Seas’ flexible dining

Cruise lines have not come close to enticing all the potential cruisers in North America to try at least one vacation at sea, or so they say. But cruising may already have exhausted the pool of people who want to sit each evening for a week, during long, three-course dinners in a big dining room. That […]

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Puttering around Europe, cruising on Windstar’s new Star Pride

When I ask well-traveled, non-cruisers what kind of ship they would consider for their first voyage, most say “small” and “casual.” Yet if a company proposed to start a cruise line with new, small ships for 300 or fewer passengers, investors would be hard to find. Why? Because cruise experts say that they could not […]

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Joys of a small cruise ship, visiting the Med’s quiet harbors

One of the best reasons to choose to cruise on a small ship in the Mediterranean Sea is the opportunity to visit ports with delightful harbors where big cruise ships cannot go, to dock among the stunning pleasure yachts or tender to the heart of town. On a six-night voyage in May from Barcelona to […]

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Humming ‘1492’ as a Windstar Mediterranean cruise memory

Two weeks off the Star Pride in the Mediterranean between Barcelona and Rome’s port of Civitavecchia, and still I am humming the theme from “1492: Conquest of Paradise.” The stirring sounds by Greek composer Vangelis play at the end of each day at sail-away, on all Windstar ships. The music is upbeat, proud, and commanding, […]

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Cruising on Star Pride, casually elegant from a carry-on bag

Star Pride notes from the Mediterranean Sea Folks who sail, the ones who prefer to meander the seas and to challenge the capriciousness of the winds and waters, mostly are a hardy lot, energized by their battles with the forces of nature. At sea, they tend to be casual in dress, taking comfort in the […]

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Travel agents know best cruise secrets

On the big MSC Divina, my balcony cabin at the aft end provided a rare sense of privacy and easy access during a week’s winter voyage in the Caribbean from Miami. Four cabins away from mine was a door that led to a little used outside stairway which became my nearly private entrance and exit. […]

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